Did you know that there are magic letters in the alphabet that, when combined, provide immense power and unbelievable stress relief? I've discovered them this past year when my work schedule changed drastically and I had very very little time for basic living let alone relaxing.
After having worked from home for two years (where I had ample time to take care of family, house and work) I received an assignment which included a 2 hour, if traffic was decent, commute across town everyday. Guess how often traffic was decent ... I had to take stock one day and determine how much time I actually had in a day for "life".
I allowed 8 hours for sleep each day (I need at least that or I get really really grumpy - even with coffee). I also had to allocate 11 hours to work and commuting. So, 24-8 = 16 hours ... 16 - 11 = 5 hours. Figure of that 5 hours ... 1.5 hours for meal prep, eating and clean up, 0.5 hours for shower and makeup, 1.5 hours for helping my oldest with homework / studying and reading with my younger one ... what are we down to 1.5 hours left. 0.5 hours for bedtime and bath. That's maybe - if everything goes smoothly - 1 hour for me to brush teeth, read my bible, workout, do a little TV watching - oh yeah, I forgot laundry, darn.
So when I saw how little time I had left I decided that I had to stay sane somehow. I'm very efficient and driven when I'm doing things, however I don't like to be overloaded. So I realized that when other requests for my time were threatening my time with my family I had to get creative.
This is when I found the magic letters ... n and o ... I realized that it really is ok to say no to requests when it threatens your family life and family time. I also say no to things that I may want to do but realize don't fit in with my life in it's current season. Saying no is ok and people do understand - particularly those who have been through or are going through similar seasons in life. By saying no to salon haircut time (who am I kidding - Supercuts) for example allows me to instead spend time making a puzzle with my kids. That time is so much more worth it and fulfilling. I've said no to job opportunities that would require me to travel and be away from home. I've suspended, for a time, my and my sons time in karate class to prioritize his studying during the school year.
I find that I have to be very selective of what I say ok or yes to. I have to balance and prioritize ... and my husband and kids are first priority. Not their activities, not what others ask me to do, and definitely not the dust bunnies. After all I know that my boys will remember me sitting on the floor playing a game with them right among the dust bunnies, not that the dust bunnies were there. And that's just the way I'd want it.
Awaiting my next calling - which when from God - I never say no to...